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Interactive multimedia is a new experience of the media that originates from TV and computer technologies. It is used as a tool for learning in schools as well as for training in cooperating organizations. It is a powerful tool in the hands of performance technologies which include multimedia designers. Multimedia can be referred to as any computer-mediated software or an interactive application, that integrates color, text graphical images, animation, audio sound, and full motive video in just one application(Samuel,21). This software might use some or all of these modes for communicating to the user. This is more than a collection of multiple media. Interactive multimedia software as a complex interaction of stimuli aims at producing usability and functionality of systems. Usability, a concept of human-computer interface, is aimed at making the computer systems easy to learn and to use through a user-centered design process. Interactive multimedia systems that are poorly designed could be annoying to users. Usability could be likened to concepts as easy use, user-friendliness. This is not a new concept though new in the area of software production. Usability thus could be defined as the capability in human functional terms to be used without stress or easily. (Samuel, 45)
The process of integrating user requirements, user interface validation, and testing into standard methods of software design, is said to be user-centered design. This is an approach that takes into account user-based knowledge and involves them in the design decision process as a major concern. The user-centered design principle is to involve the end-users in the design decision process of a particular product. This includes understanding the users’ needs and addressing them specifically. Designers, therefore, need to know who the users will be and the task they will be performing.
This refers to the ease with which users may accomplish a task. Multimedia system designed with the users in mind; enable them to understand basic comments and navigation options and to locate wanted information with their use. These systems should be easy to remember, so that casual users can remember after a period of nonuse.
Multimedia systems or products should be designed to achieve a high level of productivity. Effectiveness, effectiveness measured by taking cognizance of speed and error, refers to levels of user performance. After the learning process, users should become better at their use over time.
Variation in task completion strategies supported by multimedia systems is referred to as flexibility. The use of a range of diver’s commands to achieve similar goal add to the flexibility of the system, though this might not apply to the learnability of new users.
The use of the tools of graphic design, cartographic, illustration, and statistical representation to convey information is known as traditional infographics. Because of their multiple and flexible nature, infographics are complex to define. The use of words or pictures in relating a story is said to be infographics. Large data are best presented with charts. This tends to condense large sources of information into small space thereby enhancing essay comprehension by the user (John, 24). This also shortens the time that would have been using in the telling of a long story, or the presentation of a large quantity of data.
The design of multimedia systems should be done or carried out with the consideration of the end-users in mind. Attention should be given to issues relating to flexibility, usability, and learnability. There should be direct and easy communication between the user and the systems. And the use of infographics will aid these goals.
Samuel, Jones. Designing for Usability. Cairo, Egypt: Amman Publishers, 2000.
John, Boss. Principles of Multimedia Design. Johannesburg, South Africa: Same Press, 1998.